Cold War enemies, the US and Russia, have expanded their cooperation in Afghanistan in a bid to pursue their own interests there, a report says.
The report published in British daily Telegraph comes after Russian and US forces raided heroin and opium labs in Nangarhar Province near the Pakistan border.
They reportedly destroyed USD 250 million worth of drugs. Russia’s anti-narcotics chief says his unit closely cooperated with US counterparts to organize the raid, which Afghan President Hamid Karzai has severely criticized.
The developments come days after Russia criticized the inadequate anti-drug policies of the US-led forces in Afghanistan, which Moscow said had led to an increased flow of drugs into Russia through Central Asia.
It is not clear when and how many Russian troops have been deployed in Afghanistan. However, experts say up to hundreds of Russian troops have participated in the drug raid.
A statement from Karzai’s office said on Saturday that no organization or institution has the right to carry out such military operations inside Afghanistan’s territory without the government’s permission.
“Afghanistan condemns this act by NATO and announces that such unilateral operations are a clear violation of Afghan sovereignty as well as international law, and any repetition will be met by the required reaction from our side,” the statement said.
“Such unilateral operations are a clear violation of Afghan sovereignty as well as international law, and any repetition will be met by the required reaction from our side,” it added.
There are currently more than 150,000 US-led foreign troops in Afghanistan. The US and its western allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of the fight against terrorism.
Russian military involvement in Afghanistan has a long history. The Soviet Union invaded the country in 1979 and occupied it but was forced to withdraw nine years later by Mujahedeen forces.
The report notes that so far the cooperation has mostly been limited to Moscow providing its territory for US army transit.
Experts say the recent operation could be a result of a backdoor deal made between the Cold War rivals in recent months.
Under the deal, Moscow would withdraw its objection to the US-engineered missile shield project in Poland and the Czech Republic, in return for a greater role in the region.
Afghanistan accounts for more than 90 percent of the world’s illicit opium and heroin. Some reports say the US and British forces are protecting poppy production in Afghanistan
JR/AKM/MMN – Press TV